Terry Kiser

Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood (1988, John Carl Buechler)

Let’s take Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood at face value and not assume it’s a soulless corporate production with no ambition other than to separate the 18–24 year old demographic from some cash on Friday night of pay day.

With that consideration in mind, the film is about this evil psychiatrist (Terry Kiser) who brings this girl with telekinetic powers (Lar Park-Lincoln) out to the woods in order to develop her powers. Why isn’t important. In the woods, Park-Lincoln releases this monster who apparently thinks he’s in charge of maintaining the forest and the way to get plants to grow is with human sacrifice and decorating trees and other plants with the corpses.

Kind of gross, but far more interesting than the utter laziness of New Blood. Park-Lincoln’s terrible; director Buechler seems entirely unfamiliar with Kiser as an actor and wastes him as a non-comedic weasel. The only performances of note are Kevin Spirtas as the male lead (just because he’s not atrocious) and maybe Kane Hodder as Jason, only because he’s got so much to do physically. Just not as a character.

Buechler’s approach to New Blood is to turn the monster into the audience’s entry into the film. Not for empathetic reasons, of course–Buechler uses it to give the audience wish fulfillment with the graphic murders. It’d be disturbing if it weren’t all so ineptly done.

Atrocious production design from Richard Lawrence makes every scene somewhat unpleasant.

Lousy stuff.



Directed by John Carl Buechler; written by Daryl Haney and Manuel Fidello; director of photography, Paul Elliot; edited by Maureen O’Connell, Martin Jay Sadoff and Barry Zetlin; music by Harry Manfredini and Fred Mollin; production designer, Richard Lawrence; produced by Iain Paterson; released by Paramount Pictures.

Starring Lar Park-Lincoln (Tina Shepard), Kevin Spirtas (Nick), Susan Blu (Mrs. Amanda Shepard), Terry Kiser (Dr. Crews), Susan Jennifer Sullivan (Melissa), Elizabeth Kaitan (Robin), Jon Renfield (David), Jeff Bennett (Eddie), Heidi Kozak (Sandra), Diana Barrows (Maddy), Larry Cox (Russell), Craig Thomas (Ben) and Kane Hodder (Jason Voorhee).

Weekend at Bernie’s (1989, Ted Kotcheff)

What’s most admirable about Weekend at Bernie’s, outside the acting, has to be the narrative structure. The first third takes place before the titular weekend, establishing all the characters, then the rest of it takes place over a twenty or so hour period.

Robert Klane’s script changes gears during the film’s final third too. Instead of relying on jokes, he and director Kotcheff go for morbid sight gags. They might be the best jokes in the film, but they’re rather cheap. The acting’s still good for these parts, however, and there’s still François Protat’s gorgeous photography. Protat makes Bernie’s feel like a vacation at the beach; there’s even some cloudy shots inferring the passage of time. They might be unintentional, but they work great.

As for the acting… Catherine Mary Stewart has the film’s most “real” part. She’s Jonathan Silverman’s love interest and finds herself surrounded by the lunacy. Silverman’s sturdy and likable in the ostensible lead role, but Andrew McCarthy’s a lot funnier as his obnoxious sidekick.

Terry Kiser plays Bernie, both alive and dead. If you don’t know the film’s concept, it’s very high brow. Silverman and McCarthy escort their dead boss around a vacation island, pretending he’s alive. Anyway, Kiser’s great in both stages, but as the corpse… he’s really impressive.

As far as supporting performances, Don Calfa’s really good. The rest are fine. Except Catherine Parks; she could be a lot better.

Bernie’s is not a smart comedy. It’s a dumb one with some smart parts.



Directed by Ted Kotcheff; written by Robert Klane; director of photography, François Protat; edited by Joan E. Chapman; music by Andy Summers; production designer, Peter Jamison; produced by Victor Drai; released by 20th Century Fox.

Starring Jonathan Silverman (Richard Parker), Andrew McCarthy (Larry Wilson), Catherine Mary Stewart (Gwen Saunders), Don Calfa (Paulie), Louis Giambalvo (Vito), Catherine Parks (Tina), Gregory Salata (Marty) and Terry Kiser (Bernie Lomax).

Mannequin: On the Move (1991, Stewart Raffill)

If the best part of your movie is a Starship song recycled from the nearly unrelated previous entry in the franchise… you’re in trouble.

It’s not hard to identify the biggest problem with Mannequin: On the Move, but it feels somewhat bad to single out Kristy Swanson when there’s so much other terrible stuff going on in the picture.

And it’s not even entirely Swanson’s fault. Towards the end of the movie, she’s actually quite appealing. But for the first two-thirds, as a tenth century girl awakened in the twentieth century, she’s an unappealing moron. Every scene bombs.

Once she’s acclimated, however, Swanson’s not bad at all.

Unfortunately, the terrible plotting also affects leading man William Ragsdale. Ragsdale has no time to make an impression before he’s acting like a doofus around a mannequin. The screenwriters don’t even bother making him sympathetic, only later giving him a tragic backstory.

On to the other big problem (besides the writing in general)–Terry Kiser is atrocious. Playing a Bavarian royal, Kiser does a combination of a Mae West impression and evil forties Japanese villain.

As for the supporting cast, Meshach Taylor is okay (the script fails him often) and Stuart Pankin is mostly bad (though sometimes good). In tiny roles, both Andrew Hill Newman and Julie Foreman are great.

Raffill’s not a good director, but Larry Pizer’s photography is excellent, as is most of William J. Creber’s production design.

On the Move‘s a stinker and, oddly, shouldn’t have been one.



Directed by Stewart Raffill; screenplay by Edward Rugoff, Michael Gottlieb, David Isaacs, Ken Levine and Betty Israel, based on a story by Rugoff and Gottlieb; director of photography, Larry Pizer; edited by Joan E. Chapman and John Rosenberg; music by David McHugh; production designer, William J. Creber; produced by Bruce McNall and Rugoff; released by 20th Century Fox.

Starring Kristy Swanson (Jessie), William Ragsdale (Jason Williamson), Meshach Taylor (Hollywood Montrose), Terry Kiser (Count Spretzle), Stuart Pankin (Mr. James), Cynthia Harris (Jason’s Mom), Julie Foreman (Gail), John Edmondson (Rolf), Phil Latella (Egon), Mark Gray (Arnold) and Andrew Hill Newman (Andy Ackerman).

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